PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has thrown his support behind gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice.
Justice, the billionaire owner of The Greenbrier, is in a three-man contest for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Jeff Kessler and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Manchin appointed Carte Goodwin, Booth’s cousin, as the interim senator from West Virginia upon the death of Robert C. Byrd in 2010.
“I support Jim Justice. At this time with his experience, vision and ability to see and create opportunities, he is what we need,” Manchin said Tuesday in Parkersburg. “He is uniquely qualified to move West Virginia forward.”
Manchin believes the three Democrats for governor are qualified, but Justice is the best person, he said. The winner of the Democratic primary will face the apparent Republican nominee Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, in November.
The senator was in the area meeting with constituents and discussing President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Merrick B. Garland. People are concerned about the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, but believe the Senate should act on the confirmation, of which the Republicans have opposed, Manchin said.
He also talked about emission standards from the Environmental Protection Agency killing the coal industry, opiod addiction and the Veterans Administration, among other issues.
Manchin, who has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, was upset with her this week for making a comment about renewable energy and saying “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Manchin spoke to Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, and her advisers about the comment. She wrote a letter to Manchin saying she “was mistaken in my remarks” and that coal “will be part of the energy mix for years to come.”
“Barack Obama would have never called me,” Manchin said.
The terrorist attack Tuesday in Brussels underscores why America has to be more vigilant, Manchin said. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks where more than three dozen people were killed by suicide bombers at the airport and subway.
Terrorists are hitting Western Europe, but the aim is America, Manchin said.
“We are the grand target, if you will,” said Manchin.
The United States can be compassionate for the plight of refugees, but the nation has to be more diligent in vetting those seeking entry, Manchin said. The process for obtaining a work or travel visa must be more thorough, he said.
“We’re going to be a lot more careful,” he said.
The Muslim community, which shares and loves this nation and American values, has to help authorities identify problems and radicals, Manchin said.
“You’ve got to step to the plate and help us,” he said.
Apple should have aided the Justice Department in unlocking an iPhone used by the gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack in 2015, Manchin said. Investigators believe there is a third-party method to unlock the phone and obtain the information without Apple.
“I think Apple is dead wrong,” he said.
Manchin said he has not been contacted about the C8 concentration found in the water wells in Vienna, where the level is below the EPA’s 0.4 ppb limit requiring action for health concerns. Other states have set limits below the concentration found in Vienna where tests show 0.1 ppb in five or eight wells in Vienna.
C8, also called PFOA, was used to make Teflon at the DuPont Washington Works and has been linked to six diseases. From the C8 lawsuit settlement, DuPont installed carbon filters in systems in Lubeck, Belpre, Little Hocking, Pomeroy and Tuppers Plains, but not in Parkersburg and Vienna where the concentration was below 0.4 ppb.
Attorneys in the C8 lawsuit asked the EPA several weeks ago to address the issues in Parkersburg and Vienna.
“I can get a response from Gina (McCarthy, U.S. EPA administrator),” Manchin said. “We’ll call her.”
Harry Deitzler, who represent clients in the C8 lawsuit, was appreciative of Manchin’s comments.
“Although the EPA made it clear that the 0.1 ppb level in New York was unsafe for even short term exposure of the residents, we have heard nothing back from the EPA regarding our concern that Vienna has water which exceeds that threshold. It is disturbing that the EPA is so cavalier about the exposure of our people here in West Virginia and it is even more disappointing that the EPA is dragging its feet on determination of a long-term exposure guideline while our people in Vienna and Parkersburg continue to be exposed each day,” Deitzler said.
“Many of our Wood County friends and neighbors have no choice but to drink cancer-causing PFOA in their water each day. It is great news that Sen. Manchin is now looking at this issue. Hopefully he and the governor can work with the mayors of Vienna and Parkersburg to get this mess cleaned up,” Deitzler said.